If there is something that I enjoy when I travel, it is museums, particularly I love art museums in Europe. The objects and artworks are not only beautiful but they tell you about the history. The history of the city, its illustrious characters, its culture and its people.
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I try to dedicate at least a day to some important museums. The advantage of Europe is that there are many art museums with artworks made by famous painters and sculptors. I have a preference for museums of art history or fine arts, although I can also enjoy modern art.
Art Museums in Europe
Well, I made a compilation of the 10 most famous art museums in Europe. Some I have visited them, others I hope to visit them in a not too distant future. What these museums have in common is that, if you enjoy art, culture, and history, they are a must in your itinerary.
This museum located in Paris is one of the most visited, not only in Europe but throughout the world. It houses some of the most famous artworks such as The Mona Lisa by Da Vinci and the Venus of Milo of Ancient Greece. It’s divided into 3 wings and five floors so it is huge. If you want to see everything carefully, it may take you all day. You will also have to sit down to rest because it’s really exhausting.
Among its collections, you can find Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Egyptian and Oriental antiquities. Besides of Italian, Dutch, French and Spanish painting. They also have a good endowment of Islamic art and sculptures from various eras.
To top it off, the building itself is a work of art, because it’s the former Royal Palace before the court moved to Versailles. Its origin goes back to the 12th century with later Renaissance extensions. As you can see, it’s a museum that you must not miss. In this link, you can check the prices, opening times and download a map of the museum.
If you are planning a trip to Paris, check out my post about what to do 3 days in Paris and my first impression
One of the largest art museums in Europe is the Hermitage Museum. It’s located in the city of St. Petersburg in Russia. The building that house it is the Winter Palace, the residence of the Tsars between 1732 and 1917.
They display prehistoric art, Ancient Greek and Roman art, as well as western painting. Italian artists such as Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, Fra Angelico and Tintoretto stand out. It also has a sculpture by Michelangelo. There’s an important collection of works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Spanish painters.
If you like impressionism and expressionism, this museum also has some works by artists such as Monet, Manet, Renoir, Picasso, Gauguin and Van Gogh. The price is 700 RUB, about $11 USD. On the official site, you can check the current schedules and prices.
The Uffizi Gallery is the most important of the Italian Renaissance. It’s one of the art museums in Europe that should not be missed if you visit Florence, Italy. The building that houses it is an old palace built to serve as offices of the Florentine magistrates.
It has a large collection of Italian Renaissance painters, as well as of other European masters. Some works by Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Titian, Botticelli, Rembrandt, and Velázquez stand out. It also has sculptures of ancient Rome, medieval and Gothic art.
Check out this post about 12 famous masterpieces not to miss in Florence
It’s not as big as other museums, but it still took me about 4 hours to walk it calmly. The entrance price is €20.00, in high season and €12.00 in low season. You can check the dates for each season and other combined tickets on the official site.
If you want to know more about this museum and other galleries you can visit in Florence, check out this link: The most popular palaces and museums in Florence
The Kunhistorisches Museum or Museum of Art History is one of the first museums of fine arts in the world. It’s located in Vienna, the capital of Austria. The museum is inside a sumptuous palace built by Emperor Franz Joseph to protect the Habsburg art collection.
The collection contains archaeological, Egyptian and Greek objects, jewelry, furniture, sculptures, and paintings. Especially Renaissance and baroque paintings. Some famous painters here are Rubens, Vermeer, Durer, Van Dyck, Caravaggio, Tintoretto, Canaletto, and Velázquez.
The price of the ticket is €15 and you can check the schedules and other details in this link.
In this post: 3 days in Vienna: Wind, Rain, and Museum of Art History I tell you my experience visiting Vienna and the art museum.
Another of the most popular art museums in Europe is the National Gallery of London. They designed this building specifically to house the National Gallery.
Unlike other museums, the National Gallery was not formed by nationalizing an existing royal art collection. British royalty retains its private collection. The collection has been created and enlarged by many donations and purchases made by the museum itself.
Some famous works in the gallery are The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck, The Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci and The Sunflowers by Van Gogh. The entrance to this gallery is free for all visitors.
the Vatican Museums are the art museums in Europe in which the rich collections of the popes are being kept. Besides, the Sistine Chapel itself is an artwork due to the frescoes that contains.
The collections include paintings, sculptures, archaeological and ethnological objects. Some of these museums are the Gregorian Egyptian museum, the art gallery, Raphael’s rooms, among others. The works on display are many, highlighting works of Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Fra Angelico, Raphael and of course Michelangelo.
I still have to visit these and other museums on my next trip to Italy. On the official website of the Vatican museums, you’ll find a lot of information about the rooms and the works. The general admission price is €17 euros.
Prado National Museum
Unfortunately, the first time I traveled to Madrid, I couldn’t visit this museum since my itinerary through Europe was a bit rush. After reading how important it is, I felt a great regret. But I hope to return to Madrid at the end of the year and then I won’t miss it.
Mainly you can find paintings of great Spanish masters such as Velázquez, El Greco, Goya, and Murillo. However, there are also works by artists such as Tintoretto, Veronese, Raphael, Van Dyck, Rubens, and Titian. Also to a lesser extent, it has Greco-Roman sculptures and decorative arts.
The general admission is €15.00 euros. On this link to the official website, you can check the schedules and other information.
The Borghese Gallery is another one of the museums in Rome that I would like to visit. It’s located in Villa Borghese, a property of this family. The cardinal Scipione Borghese started this collection of art, antiquities, and sculptures.
I like Caravaggio’s style and I understand that the cardinal acquired several works from him and Bernini. Besides, they display works by other authors such as Titian, Raphael, Rubens, Bronzino, and Ribera.
To visit it you have to make an obligatory reservation as it’s a somehow small museum (2 levels). The price is €13.00 plus €2.00 for the reservation. On this site, you can get more information and book.
The Gemäldegalerie belongs to the series of Berlin State Museums. It’s inside the building known as Kulturforum. It’s one of the art museums in Europe that contains more works by German masters. Also includes works by Durer, Holbein, Vermeer, Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens, and Rembrandt.
The museum has about 1500 works exhibited in 72 rooms distributed over two floors. The price of the ticket for only the gallery is €10.00 and to see all the exhibitions of the Kulturforum is €12.00 euros. In the official site, you can buy your tickets and get more information to plan your visit.
The Rijksmuseum or National Museum of Amsterdam is the last on my list of the best art museums in Europe. As its name indicates, is located in the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam. It is a museum dedicated to art, crafts, and history.
It houses the largest collection of Dutch art, especially Rembrandt, as well as Egyptian and Asian art. Works by Goya, Rubens, Fra Angelico and Van Gogh are also included. The cost of admission is €17.50. On the official site of the Rijksmuseum, you can check the schedules and instructions on how to get there.
Honorary mentions: other art museums in Europe
The truth is that I feel a little bad when I leave many other important and valuable museums in Europe out of my list. I prefer paintings (especially Renaissance and Baroque) and to a lesser extent sculpture. Although I also enjoy other types of art such as decorative arts, engraving, architecture, etc.
I also chose museums that include a variety of art from prehistoric to modern art. There are many museums dedicated to a type of art or specific artist that I didn’t include, but that deserve special mention because of their importance.
For example, the D’Orsay Museum in Paris dedicated to 19th-century art. The British Museum with artistic expressions of other cultures. In Florence the Palatine Gallery with important Italian paintings. The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. And… I could go on 😀 I go wild with museums and galleries.
But so far I’ll cut this list and hope you’ve liked it. Tell me in the comments, which of these museums you know or which one would you like to visit? Or if there is one you’ve loved and I didn’t include it, I also accept recommendations. Museums are always welcome!
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